This post is from our friend Abe Hefter – it was originally posted on Montreal’s home of the Habs CJAD
One of the many balls that Pierre Gauthier is juggling these days fell in his lap today with word that the Habs’ General Manager has signed potential restricted free agent Andrei Kostitsyn to a one-year deal.
Habs’ fans, I”m sure, probably don’t know whether to cheer, or cry. Because that’s the kind of hit-and-miss career Kostitsyn has had with the Canadiens.
Kostitsyn made $3.25 million with the Canadiens last season and both sides apparently settled for the same number for the 2011-2012 NHL campaign. He’ll end up being either a bargain, or a bust. You pick it. Personally, I have no problem with the today’s announcement. I do have a problem, however, with the career that Kostitsyn has forged ever since the Habs made him their number one pick, 10th overall, in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft.
It has been an excruciatingly frustrating experience watching Kostitsyn as a member of the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. On some nights, he looks like the power forward that the Canadiens have long been lusting for. He had many of those nights when he played on a line with Tomas Plekanec and Alex Kovalev back in 2007-2008 when he scored 26 goals in what was a break-out season for him.
Since then, he’s dipped to 23 goals in 2008, 15 in an injury-plagued 2009 season, and 20 this season. Truth be told, the stretches of hockey that resulted in Kostitsyn’s 20-goal season were less than memorable. It’s the 20-game stretches without a single goal (as was the case from mid-Jan. to mid-Feb.) that I remember most about Kostitsyn’s 2010-2011 campaign.
Yes, it’s true that, year after year, Kostitsyn ranks right up there in terms of point production on this team, as pointed out by Pierre Gauthier. But, in my books, that’s not a reflection of Kostitsyn’s overwhelming talents as a forward. A statement like that speaks to the Canadiens’ inability, as a team, to put the puck in the net.
Andrei Kostitsyn is a big fish in a small pond of point production.
You’d think that someone making $3.25 a year would show some interest in earning that kind of salary. He’ll get another his opportunity to do just that in 2011.